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The Mathematics of Superforecasting

"Superforecasting", in the popular book of that name by US political scientist Philip Tetlock, is the art of probability scoring and forecast verification for diverse, unconstrained world events. Forecasting becomes superforecasting when already-excellent forecasters are trained, as individuals or as teams, and their forecasts analysed and improved so that they get even better.

There are many questions to be investigated in this area. For example: How much of superforecasting is luck, and how much judgement? How should forecasts be best aggregated to create even better forecasts? How much of good forecasting is an artefact of how the forecasts are scored and analysed? Ultimately, these questions lead us to the greater question: How can we make quantitatively better decisions? To help us toward the answers, the project will leverage results from fields including Bayesian Statistics (e.g. Bayesian model averaging, belief elicitation), Complexity Theory (e.g. collective behaviour, decision theory and game theory) and Data Science (e.g. Recommender Systems, Decision Support systems and Expert Systems).

This four-year PhD will be held in the Department of Mathematics at the University of York, and supervised by statistician Dr Ben Powell and mathematician Professor Niall MacKay, who have broader associations with Tetlock's Good Judgment Project and a longstanding collaboration on the quantification of counterfactual history with modern international historians at York St John University.

You should be expecting to graduate with a First Class degree from a good university, and have a strong background in mathematics, mathematical statistics and statistical computing. An existing or developing interest in forecasting world affairs would be an advantage.

SUPERVISORS: Dr Ben Powell, Professor Niall MacKay

FUNDING: This is a four-year studentship with UK/EU fees and a stipend of £15,560 p.a. You would be required to do a small amount of small-group support teaching.

TO APPLY: To apply, please complete the application form by clicking on the "Apply Now - PhD" link within: https://www.york.ac.uk/maths/postgraduate/phd-and-mphil/#tab-3.

Please specify a start date of October 2021 full-time, and that you are applying for the “Mathematics of Superforecasting” studentship, naming Prof MacKay/Dr Powell as your potential supervisors. 

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 29 January 2021

If you are interested in any other Maths Studentships at York, follow this link